Truck-friendly Driver Reviver sites given a lifeline

Some of the 23 Driver Reviver sites in Queensland which the State Government had planned to close in 2023 have received a lifeline and will stay open.

Late last year the government advised they would be closed because the buildings most were in were unsafe.

Over the holiday break Big Rigs visited three such Driver Revivers manned by volunteers who advised us they would remain open.

These were in southern Queensland at Gladfield on the Cunningham Highway, at Wallangarra near the NSW border and at Innisfail which is 90km south of Cairns on the Bruce Highway.

Driver Reviver sites give away free cups of tea and coffee, and biscuits which are donated by companies such as Bushells, Arnotts and milk from dairy producers.

The Driver Reviver site at the Gladfield Rest Area is a busy place for motorists including truck drivers.

It is located 25km east of Warwick on the Cunningham Highway.

Whether you want to sit inside and read a magazine provided or have a chat to one of the friendly volunteers, the Driver Reviver Site is available to you and all, provided in the comfort of air-conditioning.

Whilst there is limited parking for trucks at the majority of Driver Revivers, Gladfield is not one of them.

There is ample parking for trucks in front of the rest area and across the road. Many drivers stop there to use public toilets and shaded tables and chairs.

Dedicated volunteers Alan and Lorraine Schulze.

Big Rigs stopped there late in 2022 and spoke to long time and dedicated volunteers Alan and Lorraine Schulze.

“We get lots of people stopping here and some are truck drivers, Nobody wants us closed,” Alan said.

The pair added that numerous volunteers were at the site during holiday periods and all of the biscuits and tea and coffee were donated.

“We do three hour shifts as volunteers and truck drivers park over the road and walk across for a rest and to use the toilets,” he said.

Alan added that the building was safe and sturdy unlike an old tin shed it used to be in. “I recall that some truckies came into it back then during a hail storm,” he said.

There is a sign at the entrances to Gladfield advising that trucks over 5 tonne GVM cannot enter the rest area but heavier vehicles just park across the road.

Every driver Big Rigs spoke to at the site, including those in cars and grey nomads in vans,

want the site to stay open.

And truckies also reckon that those who stop there for a drink, biscuit and rest ensure they don’t drive fatigued, making it safer for everybody.

Wallangarra Driver Reviver Rest Area is located within just 1 km of the Qld/NSW border and is 30kms south of Stanthorpe in Queensland and 16 kms north of Tenterfield in NSW.

Wallangarra Driver Reviver site volunteers Kerry Hampstead and Fran Williams said it was vital that a lot of sites stay open.

“In 1998 this site was voted amongst the top 10 in Australia and volunteers complain if they don’t get rostered on for a short shift. Lots of people stop here and they keep the roads safer,” Fran said.

Both Kerry and Fran said they had been told by local co-ordinators that it would stay open.

“Although many others around Queensland have already closed,” Kerry said.

Innisfail site co-ordinator Michael Sands, a local police liaison officer, said he was confident it would stay open.

I contacted the office of Queensland Transport Minister Mark Bailey asking about the matter.

I received a detailed response that the next say would be from the Brisbane office of the Department of Transport and Main Roads.

A Main Roads spokesman said there are more than 450 rest areas to use on Queensland roads all year round to help motorists manage their fatigue:

“We are still consulting with volunteer groups and local councils about the outcome for each site. In many cases, we are negotiating for ownership of the infrastructure to be transferred and/or moved to an alternate site.

“Driver Reviver Australia Ltd intends to continue to operate the non-TMR sites across Queensland as the owners of the Driver Reviver program-a road safety venture supported and funded by the Federal Government.

Local organisations or councils who want to take on management and co-ordination of local DR sites can do so in consultation with the National Driver Reviver Program. The rest stops are always available for use by all motorists to stop at any time. We’ve seen a huge drop-off in the use of Driver Revivers. Patronage has decreased significantly as more petrol stations, cafes and convenience stores are available now, and people are choosing to stop at those instead.

“Regardless of that drop in patronage at Driver Revivers, we still encourage drivers to take a break while driving and to act on any signs of fatigue. In Queensland, there are about 43 Driver Reviver sites of which about half are managed by Transport and Main Roads. The other sites are managed by councils, volunteer groups, or community groups. Our

transition away from the Driver Reviver program will see some current TMR-led sites being managed by volunteer groups or councils in the future,” the spokesman said.

Over the border in NSW many Driver Reviver sites were open.

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